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clepsydra

[klep-si-druh]
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noun, plural clep·sy·dras, clep·sy·drae [klep-si-dree] /ˈklɛp sɪˌdri/.
  1. an ancient device for measuring time by the regulated flow of water or mercury through a small aperture.
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Origin of clepsydra

1640–50; < Latin < Greek klepsýdra, equivalent to kleps- (klep-, stem of kléptein to steal, conceal + -s- formative in derivation) + hydra, derivative of hýdōr water
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for clepsydra

Historical Examples

  • They had but two measures of time—the clepsydra, or water-clock, and the sun-dial.

    Our Little Lady

    Emily Sarah Holt

  • Like the sun-dial and the clepsydra, the hour-glass is older than we know.

    Time Telling through the Ages

    Harry Chase Brearley

  • The principle is the same as that of the simplest form of clepsydra.

    Time Telling through the Ages

    Harry Chase Brearley

  • The Djyotisha also teaches the art of constructing a clepsydra, or water-clock.

  • The water-clock, or clepsydra, has been known to the Chinese for centuries.

    China and the Chinese

    Herbert Allen Giles


British Dictionary definitions for clepsydra

clepsydra

noun plural -dras or -drae (-ˌdriː)
  1. an ancient device for measuring time by the flow of water or mercury through a small apertureAlso called: water clock
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Word Origin

C17: from Latin, from Greek klepsudra, from kleptein to steal + hudōr water
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for clepsydra

n.

"ancient Greek water clock," 1640s, from Latinized form of Greek klepsydra, from stem of kleptein "to steal, to hide" (see kleptomania) + hydor "water" (see water (n.1)).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper